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Best Entrepreneur Books to Build a Hardware Company

makingsociety.com /2014/10/best-entrepreneur-books-hardware/

By 10/8/2014
Mathilde Reading books will help you tremendously along your journey to build your hardware company.
Bill Gates or Elon Musk are known for being avid readers. Both said that some books had a great
influence in their business decisions. They are obviously not the only ones.

I spend the last months reading and researching the topic and I compiled this master list of books for makers
starting a hardware company. Pick the ones that fit your current need, they might be of great help.

Hardware Startup Strategy

The Hardware Startup , by Renee DiResta


Covering all aspects to take in consideration when building a hardware company, venture capitalist
Renee DiResta and entrepreneur Nick Pinkston talk about the hardware Renaissance and how to do
hardware the lean way.

The Hardware Startup, $24.90 on Amazon

Building Open Source Hardware , by Alicia Gibb

This collaborative book is the first one to dive into the process of building open source hardware. It
covers the main aspects: from documentation to choosing a licence or manufacturing an open
source hardware piece.

Building Open Source Hardware, $28 on Amazon

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steven Gary Blank

Obligatory reading in some start-ups, this book will give you a full methodology on how to define a
strategy for your business. Its an essential from which you will be able to get knowledge and
advice along your entrepreneurial journey.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany, $25.30 on Amazon

Etsy-preneurship , by Jason Malinak


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A full guide for crafty makers to learn how to run a successful business on Etsy.

Etsy-preneurship, $15 on Amazon

Business Models

Business Model Generation by Alex Osterwalder


Absolute best-seller for entrepreneurs. Business Model Generation is a practical tool to let you
define your business model and your strategy.

Business Model Generation, $22.44 on Amazon

The Lean Startup , by Eric Ries

Complete and pragmatic methodology to launch and run a business based on continuous innovation.
The Lean Startup is an absolute must-read.

The Lean Startup, $11 on Amazon

The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More , by Chris
Anderson
Written by the former Editor-in-Chief of Wired magazine and current CEO of 3D Robotics, The Long
Tail is a world-famous book for any online entrepreneur who wants to harness the power of niche
markets to its business. Internet gives an almost infinite number of market opportunities, small but big
enough to start successful business.

The Long Tail, $10.56 on Amazon

Free , by Chris Anderson

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This book explores how free can become an highly successful business strategy. Chris Anderson
explains the different business models using the free model and shows how to compete when
competitors are giving away your product. A great read for hardware entrepreneurs exploring open
source hardware models.

Free, $10.80 on Amazon

Raising Capital

Venture Deals: Be Smarter Than Your Lawyer and Venture Capitalist , by Brad Feld
and Jason Mendelson
This book will let you understand how venture capitalists think and how deals work. Its a great book
to understand the outlines of venture capital term sheet and gives valuable insights on how to get a
fair deal.

Venture Deals, $28.39 on Amazon

Crowdfunding: The Next Big Thing , by Gary Spirer


A book that covers all aspects of crowdfunding, with or without equity, with practical advice on how to
pitch your project on crowdfunding platforms. Gary Spirer also covers the latest regulations and how
to identify projects that will work.

Crowdfunding, $14 on Amazon

Product Design

Product Design and Development by Karl Ulrich and Steven Eppinger


A book that every designer and product engineering wannabee should have on his bookshelf.
Authors take you through design and product development process in a company, sharing clear
methods to bring together marketing, design and manufacturing functions of the enterprise.

Product Design and Development , $180.20 on Amazon

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petrovsky

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Forks, pins, paper clips, zippers The Evolution of Useful Things tells the story of how some of our
most common and iconic everyday things became the way they are today. Its a book about
technology and innovation, and a passionate look at what really drives inventions.

The Evolution of Useful Things, $11.50 on Amazon

The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman


How to design product for people. Thats what field-changing The Design of Everyday Things is all
about.

The Design of Everyday Things, $11.37 on Amazon

Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things , by Donald A. Norman
Cognitive scientist Don Norman, who also wrote The Design of Everyday Things, explores how
products aesthetics affects our experience.

Emotional Design, $12.09 on Amazon

Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things , by Michael


Braungart and William McDonough
Cradle to Cradle is a must-read manifesto and a guide for designing products that dont go to waste.
Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Cradle to Cradle, $18.70 on Amazon

How Designers Think by Bryan Lawson


A classic for any designer, How Designers Think takes the reader throughout the design process.
Its the result of 40 years of research, interview and observations with designers in action.

How Designers Think, $51.68 on Amazon

Structures: Or Why Things Dont Fall Down , by J. e. Gordon

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This book is one of all times Elon Musks favorite and a best-seller in architecture. Its a must-read
for anyone interested in product design and engineering. Very few math but plenty of real-life
examples and well-explained concepts that shape the world we live in.

Structures, $13.68 on Amazon

Design for Manufacturing and Assembly

Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals , by Rob Thompson


A must-have of any hardware entrepreneur, this big book is a fully illustrated resource to help
designers understand the various manufacturing processes, how to design for manufacturing and
anticipate the many challenges that will undoubtedly come along the way.

Manufacturing Processes for Design Professionals, $62.40 on Amazon

Product Design for Manufacture and Assembly by G. Boothroyd


Absolute must-have for the hardware entrepreneur, this 700+ pages book packed with schematics
covers all aspects of design for manufacturing. Use it as manual along your design journey to take
the right decisions early-on and learn about manufacturing processes and challenges.

Product Design for Manufacture and Assembly, $128.90 on Amazon

Mechanical Assemblies by Daniel Whitney


Mechanical Assemblies specifically focuses on the assembling part of product manufacturing.

Mechanical Assemblies , $135.80 on Amazon

Lean Manufacturing

How To Implement Lean Manufacturing by Lonnie Wilson

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This book is a detailed hands-on resource for implementing lean manufacturing, from deploying
plant-wide strategies to reducing lead times or synchronizing production and supply to the customer.
Advanced read for the hardware entrepreneur already well-engaged in his hardware company
process.

How To Implement Lean Manufacturing , $47.60 on Amazon

Work Methodology

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen


GTD is world-famous method for helping you work in more productive way.

Getting Things Done, $8.88 on Amazon

Rework , by Jason Fried


This book will give you the keys on how to work effectively, get exposure, boot-strap efficiently, and
overall get much more productive.

Rework, $8.70 on Amazon

How To Win Friends and Influence People , by Dale Carnegie


With such a title, no suprise this book became an incredible best-seller, with more than 15 million
copies sold since its release in 1936. This timeless book is still fully relevant today, with advice on
how to make people like you, convince and change people without resentment.

How To Win Friends and Influence People, $9.60 on Amazon

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us , by Daniel H. Pink


In this New York Times best-seller, Daniel H. Pink explores what motivates us. And its not money. 40
years of scientific research on human motivation show that what truly motivates us is: autonomy,
mastery and purpose. This book is the reference for understanding motivation.

Drive, $11 on Amazon

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Open Source

The Success of Open Source , by Steven Weber


The ultimate book on open source and its business models, from a non-technical point of view.
Plenty of open source business case studies and perspectives on the movement. Not very easy to
read but a must-have.

The Success of Open Source, $20.50 on Amazon

The Cathedral & the Bazaar , by Eric Raymond


Its this kind of book that anyone working with Open Source needs to have in his bookshelf. Eric
Raymond talks about how and why the open source movement works.

The Cathedral & the Bazaar , $11 on Amazon

Hackers , by Steven Levy


Written in 1984 (!) by Wired senior writer Steven Levy, Hackers tells the story of how computers
escaped proprietary silos and became wildly used by everyone for business and leisure. Its a
classic that will take you in the early days of hackers in the 1960s and 1970s. A great tool to
understand present challenges.

Hackers, $13 on Amazon

Makers, by Cory Doctorow


The cult fiction book of Cory Doctorow, sharing his vision of a maker world.

free download

Marketing and Selling

Purple Cow , by Seth Godin

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Purple Cow is one of the most remarkable best-seller of marketing genius Seth Godin. Its a book
about the power of standing out. Ethical marketing at its best.

Purple Cow , $7 on Amazon

Permission Marketing , by Seth Godin

This book explores a marketing approach based on respect for your customers, transparency and
asking for permission. It details online and offline strategies to reach to your audience and transform
visitors into fans and friends.

Permission Marketing , $6 on Amazon

Cold Calling Techniques , by Stephan Shiffman

One of the highly recommended book on how to sell. Filled with advice, techniques and examples.

Cold Calling Techniques , $9 on Amazon

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook , by Gary Vaynerchuck


This book will explain to you how to tell your story on social media and stand out. Social media
guru Gary Vaynerchuck shares plenty of case studies and provocative ideas to get your message
across online networks without killing your brand.

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook , $17.50 on Amazon

Entrepreneurs stories

Hackers and Painters , by Paul Graham


Paul Graham, programmer and VC (he co-founded Y Combinator seed capital firm), wrote Hackers
and Painters in 2004 as an essay sharing his views on the future of technology. It quickly became a
must-read for all wannabee entrepreneurs and still is.

Hackers and Painters , $11 on Amazon

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy
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Answers , by Ben Horowitz
Entrepreneur and investor Ben Horowitz shares his advice on how to build and run a startup.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, $16.20 on Amazon

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future , by Peter


Thiel
In this book, Peter Thiel tells the story of how he created Paypal and raised it to a multi-billion
business. More importantly, he explores how leaders think by themselves, and how entrepreneurs
can innovate today. A very inspiring book for anyone who thinks that we already invented everything.

Zero to One, $11 on Amazon

Founders at Work: Stories of Startups Early Days by Jessica Livingston


This very popular book tells the story of founders of some of the biggest tech companies. Interviews
with Steve Wozniak (Apple), Mitch Kapor (Lotus) or Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail). Mostly about software
and less about hardware but still inspiring.

Founders at Work, $11 on Amazon

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life , by Walter Isaacson


Best-selling author of Steve Jobs and Einstein biographies, Walter Isaacson tells the story of USA
founding father Benjamin Franklin in this highly rated book (a favorite of both Y Combinator Paul
Graham and Tesla founder Elon Musk).

Benjamin Franklin, $11 on Amazon

My Forty Years with Ford , by Charles E Sorensen


Sorensen is one of the rare people who spend their all life working with Henry Ford. In this book,
published for the first time in 1956, he tells the story of the company and the man from the inside,
giving first-eye details on the amazing story of Ford.

My Forty Years with Ford , $27 on Amazon

Tap Dancing to Work Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012 , by


Carol J. Loomis
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This biography of Warren Buffet is a great way to enter the mind of the most-successful business
investor.

Tap Dancing to Work , $15 on Amazon

World Perspectives

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization , by Vaclav Smil


For all of us working with materials and hardware projects, soon arises the question of material
consumption and its limits. This book by environmental sciences professor Vaclav Smil explores this
topic with talent and gives answers to the rise of dematerialization. Heavily packed with data and
thorough information, this book is for the ones who truly want to understand the use of materials
across civilizations.

Making the Modern World, $35.80 on Amazon

The Box by Marc Levinson


Multi-awards winning book The Box is also one of Bill Gates favorites. Economist and historian Marc
Levinson retraces the history of the shipping container and how it made the world smaller and the
world economy bigger. Super instructive and a great read for any hardware mind.

The Box , $13 on Amazon

The Soul of A New Machine , by Tracy Kidder


Pulitzer price winner, Paul Grahams favorite, The Soul of a New Machine tells the story of the
computer and how it revolutionized our world. Author also analyzes social behavior and work ethics
surrounding these technologies, which still apply today.

The Soul of A New Machine, $12 on Amazon

The Singularity Is Near , by Ray Kurzweil


In this book about the future of technology and humanity, Ray Kurzweil explains his theories around
human transcendence and how humanity and technology will merge into something new.

The Singularity Is Near , $15 on Amazon

The Third Industrial Revolution , by Jeremy Rifkin


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Explore Jeremy Rifkins ideas for a future where Internet and renewable energy are in the center of a
new world paradigm, replacing oil and fossil fuels. Hardware enthusiasts and makers will find a great
use and inspiration in his vision.

The Third Industrial Revolution , $14 on Amazon

Which one is your favorite?

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